A Hollywood rehab clinic that charges celebrities up to $15,000 a month has seen two of its patients die of overdoses in recent years while preying on wealthy addicts at their most vulnerable and feeding their various addictions, critics charge.
Alex Shohet, a recovering addict, and his therapist wife, Berni Fried, co-own Red Door Life, a residential treatment facility that operates out of a Bel Air mansion that was once home to singer Ariana Grande’s mother.
Those who have sought treatment at the facility allege that drug use among patients is widespread and allowed while ‘sober companions’ often allow those admitted to indulge their addictions, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Former employees also allege that California regulatory agencies have failed to act against the couple even though whistleblowers have warned officials about what they say is an environment dangerous for addicts seeking help.
DailyMail.com has left phone and email messages for Red Door Life seeking comment.
Alex Shohet (left), a recovering addict, and his therapist wife, Berni Fried (right), co-own Red Door Life, a residential treatment facility that operates out of a Bel Air mansion that was once home to singer Ariana Grande’s mother
The couple used to operate the clinic out of a five-bedroom residential home just off Sunset Strip
Red Door Life bills itself as a facility that ‘provides holistic, attachment-based, trauma-informed, individualized services to help people with trauma, substance abuse, and mental health issues.’
More than two dozen people, including clients, staffers, and others, told The Hollywood Reporter that the facility provides inadequate care.
Shohet told THR that he and his ‘team’ were working on ‘new technology’ to combat the opioid epidemic.
‘I, Alex Shohet, have been in the recovery industry since 2005 and my wife, Bernadine Fried, LMFT, has been working in the field since 1988,’ Shohet said in a statement to THR.
‘We have seen too many deaths from addiction and mental health disorders and each one is a tragic loss.
‘The Red Door staff and community stands with our fellow health care providers across the US who are on the front lines fighting the overdose epidemic.’
According to THR, Red Door Life markets a ‘harm-reduction approach’ to treatment of addiction.
‘Harm reduction’ refers to methods that are alternatives to abstinence. These include giving addicts sterilizing needles and providing safe harbor.
Those who advocate for harm reduction methods say that it limits the risk of fatal overdose. Proponents also believe that it lessens the chance of contracting infectious diseases like HIV.
But critics of Red Door Life say that ‘harm reduction’ has allowed the clients who stayed at the facility to keep their addictions going.
Former staffers and clients allege that the clinic offered lax care. Two patients at the clinic died on the premises in the last three years, according to a report
A woman in her 20s whose father is the head of a studio told THR that she stayed at Red Door Life from 2019 until 2020.
‘The sober companions weren’t there to keep you from doing drugs,’ she said.
‘They were there to keep you from dying.’
The woman says that her sober companion ‘drove me to my dealer.’
‘I was doing Xanax, cocaine, Oxy. The thinking was: “You’re going to do it anyway, so you’re safer with me” – which, honestly, is true.’
Another ex-client, Inger Lorre, told THR that she spent 11 months at Red Door Life after entering the facility in the summer of 2018.
Lorre, a singer who was the lead for the punk band The Nymphs, sought treatment for depression and an addiction to opiates.
She and her mother allege that Shohet tried to get her family to enter into an investment opportunity to expand the clinic even as she sought treatment.
‘I was very easily preyed on,’ Lotte told THR.
‘They’d say things like, “I’m going to leave a [urine] test here,” and walk away.
‘You’re supposed to have people watching you do the tests.’
Lorre added: ‘I think [Shohet] thinks, “These people are going to get drugs and get loaded anyway, and I might as well get their money”.’
‘[Shohet] took advantage any way he could,’ said Lorre’s mother, Lois Wening.
‘He got himself involved in our whole family. He came into our lives when we were, quite frankly, struggling and upset, and unable to look for other [treatment] solutions.
‘He preyed on our vulnerability.’
A 20-year-old woman whose father is a venture capitalist died at the facility in June of last year after she overdosed on a combination of cocaine, OxyContin, and Xanax.
The woman came to the facility to seek treatment for depression, not drug addiction.
She started doing drugs after meeting a housemate at Red Door Life, a well-known music producer with whom she developed an intimate relationship.
At the time of her death, she and Shohet discussed approaching her father to finance another property for Red Door Life, THR is reporting.
The woman and her music-producer boyfriend had planned to stay at the property.
Jordan Brodie, a musician who has no training in drug treatment, was hired as house manager at Red Door Life. He was there when the daughter of the venture capitalist suffered her fatal overdose.
Shohet and Fried are accused of running a clinic that allowed patients to continue using drugs on the premises even though they were addicts, according to a report
‘The Red Door promotes itself as a steward of very vulnerable people,’ Brodie told THR.
‘At the very least they had a reckless attitude about this responsibility.’
Brodie said that he was never trained in ‘basic things, like administering Narcan.’
Narcan is an emergency antidote given to those who overdoses on opioids.
‘He put me in a position where I wasn’t equipped to handle what I was doing, which was overseeing highly vulnerable people,’ Brodie said.
‘In fact, on the second day, there was an overdose. I had to get a client to administer the Narcan because I was not trained.’
He added: ‘I noticed a lot of unethical things, and every time I would point them out, I would get shut down.’
In January of this year, another patient, William Cooney, 36, suffered a fatal overdose on the premises. The coroner said he had cocaine, fentanyl, and methamphetamine in his system.
THR cites ‘insiders who have seen the report’ as saying that Red Door LIfe didn’t adequately monitor Cooney during his stay there.
‘We knew that overdose was possible; we never imagined it would happen in a rehab facility,’ William’s father, Gary Cooney, told THR.
Gary Cooney is vice chairman of national insurance brokerage firm McGriff, Seibels & Williams.
William’s ex-wife, Sarah Morse Cooney, told THR: ‘This should not have happened.
‘If this facility had the appropriate structures in place, this could have been avoided and my son would still have his father, and I my friend.
‘I hope the individuals that were complicit in his mismanaged treatment are held accountable and never risk preying on another vulnerable addict.’
Amara Durham, a substance abuse consultant hired by Cooney’s family to work with him, said that William checked into Red Door Life against her advice.
William is reported to have ignored Durham after he was persuaded to seek treatment at the facility by his girlfriend.
Durham had doubts about Shohet and Fried after reading about the closure of One80 Center, a network of residential treatment facilities in Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Hills.
The company once operated out of a home in the Benedict Canyon section of Los Angeles that was once occupied by Elizabeth Taylor and then-husband Michael Wilding.
One80 Center, which was also owned and operated by Shohet and Fried, was shut down after THR conducted an investigation into allegations of inadequate care believed to have caused the fatal overdoses of two clients.
‘All of [these allegations are] 180 degrees away from us as human beings,’ Shohet told THR at the time.
Added Fried: ‘We do really dedicated, thoughtful, compassionate work here. Anybody that knows us will tell you that.’
The business was forced to shut down after one family filed a wrongful death suit against the company.
Soon after the business closed, Fried had her license revoked and was placed on four-year probation by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.
The decision came after an investigation was launched against Fried by the office of then-state Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Fried’s probation ended in April.
Critics of Red Door Life allege that Fried improperly referred clients to her private practice in Beverly Hills.
Fried’s credentials and methods as a therapist have reportedly been called into question. Her private practice in Beverly Hills once counted as clients the late Stone Temple Pilots front man Scott Weiland (left) and DJ AM (right). Both died of drug overdoses
Among her celebrity clients at her private clinic were Scott Weiland, the lead singer of the grunge rock band Stone Temple Pilots, and DJ AM.
Weiland, 48, died in 2015 of what the coroner said was an accidental overdose of cocaine, alcohol, and methylenedioxyamphetamine.
DJ AM, 36, was founded dead in his New York City apartment in 2009. The New York medical examiner said he suffered a fatal overdose caused by ‘acute intoxication’ of cocaine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, lorazepam, clonazepam, alprazolam, diphenhydramine, and levamisole.
Red Door Life staffers allege that Fried has taken up hallucinogenic-assisted psychotherapy.
She reportedly invites clients to take MDMA, mushrooms or ayahuasca under her care while leading excursions in the desert.
A Board of Behavior Sciences spokesperson told THR that licensees ‘do not have prescribing or administering authority.’
The spokesperson added that it ‘is unprofessional conduct for a marriage and family therapist to use or offer drugs in the course of performing marriage and family therapy services (unless they are licensed to do so under another board – for example, the Medical Board of California).
‘A professional should not perform services outside their scope and should make referrals to specialists who have that expertise.’
The couple’s critics say that the state has not done enough to crack down on them – a failure that puts more lives at risk.
‘They’re going to be the cause of more death,’ said Amber Fraley, a former sober companion for Red Door Life clients.
‘[Shohet and Fried] are able to be the vampires that they are because they’re in a broken system.’